This project will only be funded if it reaches its goal by Sat, June 1 2019 10:22 AM UTC +00:00.
I’m a non-fiction author writing about what it means to be our best selves, what it means to be authentic, and what it means to have personal integrity.
It seems to me that the things I write about get treated very shallowly in our society. They’re sidelined by the noise of consumer culture, the busyness of daily life, and by an endless stream of divisive politics echoing around the world.
I hope that the care I take in researching, reflecting on, and discussing what I write comes through in my books.
Self Help - An Industry Not Delivering?
Despite the continued growth of the self-help industry – worth $10 billion in the US alone – critical thinkers suspect that typical self-help advice is deeply flawed.
If such advice doesn’t confront and challenge our underlying beliefs about human nature, relationships, and society, how can it offer profound answers to who we are or new approaches to our personal and global challenges?
In these times of divisive politics, rampant self-interest, and unfolding global disaster, many of us are unsatisfied with our daily lives and are looking for guidance. We want to be authentic, build healthy relationships, and face our challenges with integrity.
We’re not looking for a celebrity-endorsed recipe for living or a guru to motivate us. Too many of these books skim along the surface without examining the deep cultural assumptions that limit the kinds of questions any of us – authors and readers – can think to ask.
For the last decade, I’ve devoted myself to the deeply personal questions of authenticity, integrity, and identity and how our culture, communities, and relationships influence what we understand as possible answers. I’ve searched across fields including psychology, sociology, anthropology, philosophy, and cognitive science.
My search has led me to boundary-crossing insights that I’ve distilled into the three books in this series.
Why This Campaign?
I’m asking you to partner with me in getting Book Two out, read, and talked about.
This campaign will fund the final editing, publishing, and marketing of the first paperback and ebook editions of"Being Authentic: rediscovering meaning in life beyond consumer culture" and I’d love your support!
About the books
Book One "(un)self.ish: what it means to be a better you in these self-obsessed times" explores our common personal and shared challenges. It invites us all to reflect on and reconsider our priorities and approaches to life.
Book Two "Being Authentic: rediscovering meaning in life beyond consumer culture" builds models for understanding what we might wish to change in our priorities and approaches.
Book Three "Personal Integrity: elevating your life roles and building better relationships" guides us through reflective and collaborative practices of clarifying and honoring our personal values and goals.
I published the first edition of Book One as "An Unselfish Perspective" in 2018. I’ve completed the draft of Book Two "Being Authentic" and I'm assembling the reflective and collaborative practices at the core of Book Three.
I’m feeling excited and relieved to be on the verge of sharing this project with the world, but there is still more work to do, and that’s where this kickstarter campaign comes in.
More About Book One
(un)self·ish: what it means to be a better you in these self-obsessed times
The first edition of this book was published in 2018. This kickstarter campaign does not fund this book, however, I am issuing an exclusive kickstarter PDF ebook edition as rewards for pledges over 8 US dollars.
This book explores the challenges we face from discontent and isolation, dissatisfaction with our relationships, and disengagement at work; to dissolving and fragmenting local communities, deepening poverty and inequality, and degradation of the natural environment.
An endless offering of self-help products and services fails to meet our larger expectations for personal transformation and progress in our relational and global challenges.
This book invites readers to explore the cultural beliefs we take as common sense about human nature, relationships, and society. It builds new models to challenge our beliefs about how independent our observations, how objective our appraisals, and how autonomous our decisions and actions can ever really be.
- Introduction: A Self-Help Book?
- Inequality Consumes the Good Life
- High Aspirations, Vast Challenges
- Outward Judgements, Inward Biases
- Culture, You’re Drowning in it!
- Six Assumptions About Ourselves
- Evaluating, Acting, Relating, Belonging
- The Undercurrent
- Sketching the Reasons Why
- Next Steps
List of Figures:
- Median Household Income and Average Life Evaluation Score
- Our Personal and Worldly Problems
- The Emergence of One-Person Households
- Full-Time Employees Who Feel Engaged
- National Income Inequality and Median Household Income
- Six Cultural Assumptions About the Self
- Evaluating, Acting, Relating, Belonging
- Four Frames, Six Goal Types, 24 Values
Personal narratives, analysis of research, economic and social statistics, and quotations from academic sources across disciplines illustrate, validate, and advance the ideas presented throughout the book.
Extensive chapter notes and bibliography allow readers to further explore the ideas presented within published sources
More About Book Two
Being Authentic: rediscovering meaning in life beyond consumer culture
This kickstarter campaign will fund the final editing, publishing, and marketing of the first paperback and ebook editions of this book. I am also issuing an exclusive kickstarter PDF ebook edition as part of the reward package for pledges over 30 US dollars, as detailed.
This book takes a relational perspective, explored in Book One, and applies it to our beliefs about authenticity, integrity, personal values, and goals. It builds new models for understanding as it challenges some of our most fundamental cultural beliefs about human nature.
These models are based on academic theories and research across disciplines including psychology, sociology, and cognitive science. They describe:
- our dominant thinking modes;
- two mainstream belief systems;
- four worldviews (perceptual frames);
- the ways we explain good and bad circumstances;
- the ways in which we judge ourselves and others;
- the kinds of goals we pursue; and,
- a cross-cultural system of 24 basic values.
Readers are invited to collaboratively explore what it means to be authentic and to live with integrity. The visual models are intended to further their reflections and discussions. This book encourages readers to examine the goals they pursue and the values they aspire to honor and express, as they also consider the attention they pay to their small and large challenges.
- Expressing Your Personal Values
- Emotions and Authenticity
- Authenticity and Integrity
- People Problems
- Two Kinds of Thinking
- Trapped by our Explanations
- Locked Inside Conservative Beliefs
- A Progressive Belief System
- Four Ways of Judging
- Mapping our Judgements
- Four Perceptual Frames
- Six Types of Personal Goals
- Twenty-Four Personal Values
- Conversations Towards Authenticity and Integrity
List of Figures
- The Frames, Judgements, Goals, and Values of Individuals
- Evaluating, Acting, Relating, Belonging
- Optimism, Pessimism, Self-Esteem, and Explanations
- A Conservative System of Beliefs
- A Progressive System of Beliefs
- A Compass Rose for our Judgments
- Four Ways of Judging
- Four Perceptual Frames
- Six Types of Personal Goals
- Twenty-Four Personal Values
Personal narratives, descriptive analysis of experimental studies, and quotations from academic sources across disciplines illustrate, validate, and advance the ideas presented throughout the book.
Extensive chapter notes and bibliography allow readers to verify and further explore the ideas presented within published sources.
More About Book Three
Personal Integrity: elevating your life roles and building better relationships
The final book in this series will help readers articulate their personal values and goals within the context of their relationships, their families and communities, and the roles they adopt or are assigned across their lives.
This book will complete the transformative path offered to readers by providing a step-by-step guide. It will detail reflective and collaborative practices for readers to clarify and pursue their important goals and express authentic personal values with integrity.
Readers will be encouraged through these practices to recognize how they currently approach their situations, relationships, and roles, and to begin intentionally shifting their priorities and approaches in alignment with their important values.
Part One: Introduction
- Unselfishly Pursuing Your Goals and Values
- An Authentic Way Forward
Part Two: Reflective Practices
- Your Situations and Communities
- Your Relationships
- Your Life Roles
- Mapping Your Relationships and Roles
Part Three: Collaborative Practices
- Your Values in Conflict
- Mapping Your Values
- Setting and Acting on Your Goals
Part Four: Moving Forward
- Being Authentic and Living with Integrity
The practices and their supporting tables and diagrams to be included in this are based on proprietary processes developed by the author.
This kickstarter campaign does not fund this book.
- Pledge 8 US dollars to receive an exclusive kickstarter pdf edition of Book One
- Pledge between 22 and 60 US dollars to receive paperback and / or ebook bundles of Book One and / or Book Two
- Pledge 150 US dollars to have your name included in Book Two
- Pledge 300 US dollars to receive 2 x 50 minute one-on-one coaching conversations by phone
- Pledge 800 US dollars to become an angel investor with special mention in Book Two
- Pledge 1800 US dollars and I'll spend a day at your event in Southern Ontario (Canada) discussing some of the ideas in these books. Alternatively, you can receive 15 x 50 minute one-on-one coaching conversations by phone, divided among multiple coaching participants.
- Pledge 2400 US dollars and I'll spend a day at your event in any US "lower 48" state or Canadian province discussing some of the ideas in these books. Alternatively, you can receive 20 x 50 minute one-on-one coaching conversations by phone, divided among multiple coaching participants.
- Pledge 3000 US dollars and I'll spend a day at your event in the United Kingdom discussing some of the ideas in these books. Alternatively, you can receive 25 x 50 minute one-on-one coaching conversations by phone, divided among multiple coaching participants.
- Pledge 4800 US dollars and I'll spend a day at your event in Australia discussing some of the ideas in these books. Alternatively, you can receive 40 x 50 minute one-on-one coaching conversations by phone, divided among multiple coaching participants.
I’m a leadership coach, training facilitator, and non-fiction author with a background in engineering and management. I became an alumnus of Harvard Business School in 2013 and a Certified Executive Coach in 2015. I’m passionate about supporting people as they strive to make sense of their lives and become their best.
Reader Reviews of "An Unselfish Perspective"
Enlightening read! So well written, and obviously based on years of experience and personal research. There are so many ideas I want to refer back to, my book is full of highlighted sections and post-it notes. Thanks for this great book, and I'm looking forward to seeing the next ones! (verified purchase, amazon.ca)
This book is a true reflection of a coach's dedication to researching authenticity. Sharing his results on how each person's perception of being authentic and how this reflects how we show up in the world provides the reader with great moments of reflection and inspiration to find clarity about what that looks and feels like for each of us and in all areas of our lives. You nailed it James David Thomas!!!!! (verified purchase, amazon.ca)
The author James David Thomas has created a masterpiece that is inspiration for you to be a better you. I can see myself and others reading this book several times and will find new inspirations every time you read it. It’s is a practical guide, it’s art, it’s science its spirituality and all of them coming together to help you create a more balanced version of yourself. Backed with research and data the author makes a compelling presentation that is easy to read. Thank you for this wonderful book. Look forward to more books by James David Thomas. (verified purchase, amazon.com)
Read more reviews on amazon.ca and amazon.com:
Coaching Participant Testimonials
Ana Varhaug, Transportation Planning Engineer:
James’s coaching style is enlightening, strengthening and trustworthy. He has helped me gain insight into managing relationships and provided useful new skills I have been able to integrate into my day-to-day life. I walk away from coaching sessions with a fresh perspective on how to approach challenges and a clear plan of attack.
Charlie Bartlett, Sustainability and Management Systems Specialist:
James has a deep understanding of the factors affecting human performance in the workplace, and is an excellent listener and problem-solver!
Dan Higginson, Technical Advisor:
James has coached me through a difficult set of career circumstances. His positive attitude, flexibility, candor and genuine interest in seeing me succeed are what make him such a great coach.
Helen Chan, Manager:
James was an insightful coach. He created a relaxing environment that allowed me to talk through difficult topics. He challenged me to look at things with different perspectives. There are a number of things I learned working with James that will continue to support me through my career.
Jessica Ng, Securities Associate:
James offered wonderful insight and a different perspective into approaching issues in the workplace. He helped me manage working with a difficult coworker, and gave me the tools and mindset to comfortably approach my superiors with this problem. He taught me a new approach and perspective which I will continue to use in my career.
Linda Wojcicka, Water Engineer:
Working with James has helped me to better understand and articulate my values. Through this straightforward yet important exercise, I have gained clarity in decision-making and a comforting knowledge that I am making decisions that are true to who I am and what is most important to me.
Mark Porter, National Practice Lead:
James continues to provide valuable and strategic coaching. Each time I come in with a variety of thoughts and emotions. Each time I come away with a clarity of purpose that is true to my core values. I recommend James for a grounded, real and practical approach to coaching which as an engineer I fully appreciate.
Patrick Stancombe, Senior Transportation Engineer:
James has a good sense of humour and he made me feel comfortable during our coaching sessions right from the start. He allowed me to talk through challenges I was facing and we strategized together on new ways to overcome them that fit my style and personality. Not only has be helped me to improve the way I do my job, but he has also helped me to find and develop new perspectives for a more enjoyable work experience.
Read these and other recommendations on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/james-david-thomas/
This non-fiction book series is inspired by and draws on published academic research across disciplines. The authors whose works are referenced and discussed in this book series include:
Psychology: Daniel Batson, Richard Boyatzis, Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, Philip Cushman, John Darley, Edward Deci, Eli Finkel, Barbara Fredrickson, Kenneth Gergen, Daniel Kahneman, Tim Kasser, Shinobu Kitayama, Richard Lazarus, Hazel Rose Markus, Abraham Maslow, Stanley Milgram, Carolyn Morf, Daphna Oyserman, Richard Nisbett, Lee Ross, Richard Ryan, John Sabini, Martin Seligman, Barry Schwartz, Shalom Schwartz, B. F. Skinner, Amos Tversky, Kathleen Vohs, and Wendy Wood.
Philosophy: Julia Annas, Joseph Campbell, Stephen Carter, Michel Foucault, Charles Guignon, Thomas Hurka, Joseph Kupfer, Alasdair MacIntyre, Martha Nussbaum, Donald Schön, Nancy Sherman, Robert Solomon, Charles Taylor, and Linda Zagzebski.
Sociology, Anthropology, Economic Geography, Political Philosophy, Political Science: Benedict Anderson, Robert Bellah, Elizabeth Currid-Halkett, Virginia Eubanks, David Harvey, Shamus Khan, Robert Reich, Michael Sandel, and Sharon Zukin.
Business Leadership, Organizational Communication, Organizational Culture: Warren Bennis, Amy Edmondson, Bill George, Peter Senge, Eugene Soltes, Edgar Schein, Sarah Tracy, and Margaret Wheatley.
Economics: Emmanuel Saez, Amartya Sen, and Gabriel Zucman.
Neuroscience: Randy Buckner, Anthony Jack, and Martin Lövdén.
Cognitive Linguistics, Linguistics: George Lakoff and Deborah Tannen.
Risks and challenges
The biggest risk to this project is just not reaching and engaging an audience who will value and be inspired by this work. My ongoing challenge is to continue to reach out personally to my network, through blog posts and podcasts, and through social media platforms to help people discover these books.
No amount of planning or experience can completely remove the risk of not delivering on a project of almost any size or type.
However, since I have already published the first book in this series in paperback, ebook, and audiobook editions, I have the experience to know what is involved in getting Book Two progressed from its current condition (draft) to launch (final editing, publication, and marketing).
For one-on-one coaching services, I am experienced in building coaching relationships and providing coaching conversations delivered via phone lines, across time zones. In my experience, mutually acceptable times can be arranged, and calls can be complimented by video over internet, if requested.
For on-site attendance, the post-campaign survey will allow me to coordinate and plan for a mutually agreed venue and date for each backer's event. I also provide an alternative option for one-on-one coaching conversations if backers prefer telephone coaching services or if a mutual agreement cannot be reached on venue and date.
I am confident of completing this project and delivering all specified rewards, assuming I don't meet an untimely death or natural disaster before delivery!
Any project of any size can be delayed, no matter how well planned or executed. However, given my experience with publishing the first book in this series, as well as my experience working with organizations, I believe I have set realistic if not conservative delivery dates for all rewards.
I have allowed sufficient time to complete each step, such as editing and revisions, publication, and shipping.
For one-on-one coaching, backers will have the option to plan all coaching conversations in advance at mutually agreed times and divide coaching conversations between recipients, for rewards including more than 4 coaching conversations.
For on-site attendance, the specified delivery dates provide a reasonable time frame for planning a mutually agreed venue and date for your event.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter